Today (09/07/2015), Cartoon Network USA has announced that they have replaced their existing video on demand and live streaming service and app known as Watch Cartoon Network with a new app and service that is simply called “Cartoon Network App”. This replacement app will be Cartoon Network’s flagship app. In total, all of Cartoon Network’s apps have amounted to 40 million downloads across all Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices. To summarise, the new app is a hybrid of an Video On-Demand service and a customisable linear TV service which can be achieved by making your own playlist. The new app is in-line with Turner’s new multi-screen and multi-device strategy.
The New Cartoon Network App In More Detail
The Mix is the main feature of the new Cartoon Network app, its a playlist of episodes and clips that is created by kids by picking their favorite shows. For instance, fans of a particular show (Adventure Time, Steven Universe etc.) will be given content relating to that show as well as suggestions for related shows. The purpose of “The Mix” is the ability to create their own viewing schedule by creating a playlist, much like a linear TV channel. Kids can also “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” shows, in a similar way to the recommendation system on TiVo devices.
The On-Demand Library
Kids using the app will have access to a library to more than 1,000 episodes and clips for free. A much greater library of full episodes can be accessed by logging into the service via their pay-TV provider.
Chris Waldron, VP of Cartoon Network Digital made a statement regarding the new app and need for customisation for their main 6 to 11 year old demographic.
“In focus groups, Cartoon Network learned that unlike previous groups of six- to 11-year-olds, kids who are currently in the network’s sweet spot “assume personalization”. They assume now that the app is going to listen to them, and it’s going to do what they say, and over time react to their preferences. The other thing that TV is better at is helping people discover new shows with minimal effort. The whole industry is trying to figure out how to get people to watch new shows. When it’s an actual choice, when you press a button, there is some friction to that. There is some, ‘That show looks good, I’ve heard about it, but I don’t want to watch it right now.’ But TV leads into other shows that let you sample a lot of stuff. So we set out to redesign this app and say, How can we take the best of VOD, and the best of linear, and what can we build that takes that even further?”
See It First
The app will also be used to introduce new shows that could potentially air on the actual Cartoon Network channel. New episodes of popular shows will often premiere on the app a week before they premiere on the channel itself in the new “See It First” section. The new “See It First” section will release a new episode of Teen Titans Go! each week before the actual premiere later in July. At launch, the app will include an exclusive short from Adventure Time, Regular Show, Steven Universe, Clarence, Uncle Grandpa, Mighty Magiswords, and Cartoon Network’s new show, We Bare Bears. The app will also premiere shorts from Cartoon Network’s shorts development programme.
Christina Miller, president and GM of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang used Mighty Magiswords as an example on how a successful show on a mobile app could potentially be aired on TV and vice-versa.
“As (Magiswords) becomes more popular, it has the opportunity to go from screen to screen to screen. So in some cases, it might start there, but go to TV. Or it might start on TV and end up in CN Anything. So we’re becoming more and more agnostic.”
Preview of the new Cartoon Network App:
Available to download now for iOS and Android devices: